Sharing to Google+, some quick and dirty options

I’m finding my usage of Google+ interesting – there’s so many things I like about Google+, and yet I really don’t use it very often. I think one of the reasons for this is that currently some of the sharing and API options feel a little lacking.

In short, I want to share content to Google+ from multiple sources (my blogs, other blogs, Google Reader, Twitter, wherever) without using extensions or Greasemonkey or any third party apps. Here’s the best of what I’ve found so far – if there’s any you know of that I’ve missed please let me know!

One of the current limitations in the world of G+ is that you can’t easily share to a stream without +1ing the link first. Yes this isn’t ideal, but at the moment it’s simply how it is. I really hope this is fixed, as there’s many reasons you’d want to share a link but without wanting to up vote it – I much prefer the neutrality of a +1 compared to a Facebook “Like”, but even that doesn’t always fit in with wanting to share something.

Anyway, here’s what I’m currently using:

Google +1 button – original huh? So in reality I don’t use this very often because it relies on the site I’m on having it, but when it’s there I don’t mind using it. I’ve also got a couple of tools I use which aggregate information (kind of like Google Reader), and I can use the +1 button there to share/+1 things. There’s one problem however – in order to ‘Share’ a link after you’ve +1’ed it, you have to hover over the plus one button in order to activate the ‘Share’ dialog, and this doesn’t work on an iPad/iPhone. This is a major downside for me as I do a lot of reading on the iPad, and having to +1 something and remember to come back later when I’m on a full (!) web browser and share it feels inefficient.

Share to G+ Bookmarklet – this uses part of G+ mobile web site (https://m.google.com/app/plus/x/?v=compose) in order to pop up a window and populate a share dialog with the current page’s URL and Title. It’s quick and simple, but because it’s using the mobile interface it won’t go ahead and inspect the URL, which means you won’t see the preview of the content that you’d normally get when you Share a URL. You might like that, or not! Also getting Bookmarklets into your Safari bookmarks on an iOS device is a little bit of a pain - the only way I've found is to create a placeholder bookmark, copy the JavaScript of the bookmarklet, edit the bookmark, and paste it. Ugh.

If you want to do this, then I’ve pasted the JavaScript from here into a text box, for your iOS copying and pasting pleasure.

How To Share Google Reader Stories to Google Plus – this shows you some simple steps for adding G+ support to Reader’s “Send To” menu. It’s handy, and it gives us a URL that we can use to modify the bookmarklet above..

Modified Bookmarklet, +1/Share – this is a simple modification of the Share to G+ bookmarklet. It automatically +1s the current page, but from there you can click to expand the Share section and directly share it to your stream. This is slightly more streamlined than other methods I’ve seen, however it still needs you to +1 the post. On iOS devices it will open in a new window, which is less than ideal, but it’s the only thing I’ve seen that lets you Share via +1 on iOS devices (I’m not saying you can’t do it, just that it wasn’t obvious to me as to how you do so!). Again, here’s the bookmarklet in copy/pastable form for you iOS users:

 

…and so far, that’s all I’ve found that I like! I should mention that I did try a couple of the extensions out there, with mixed results – some simply didn’t seem to work, which only made my resolve to want something simple even stronger.

What am I missing? What are you using to get your content into G+? Is there a simple way to emulate a hover over an element on an iOS device? Let me know!

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Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011 5:22 PM |

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